A company already building a new hangar for Samaritan’s Purse at the Wilkes County Airport has been awarded the contract for building a new taxiway connecting it to the runway.
A $1,106,533 bid from James R. Vannoy & Sons of West Jefferson, the lowest of six submitted for the taxiway, was unanimously approved by the Wilkes County commissioners during their Sept. 1 meeting.
The new taxiway will be funded with a $1.5 million state economic development grant awarded to the county last year. No local matching funds were required.
Construction on the taxiway should start this month, said Jimmy Luther, aviation program manager for W.K. Dickson & Co. The Charlotte-based company handles engineering for Wilkes Airport projects.
The next two lowest bids were $1,109,385 from Mathis & Son Grading of North Wilkesboro and $1,193,853 from Tri-County Paving of West Jefferson. The other bids were from Carl Rose & Sons Inc. of Elkin, $1,200,126; Mountaineer Contractors Inc. of Kingwood, W.Va., $1,224,115; and Rifenburg Construction Inc. of Troy, N.Y., $1,239,183.
Construction is well underway on the new 22,000-square-foot Samaritan’s Purse hangar, which County Manager John Yates said will house a long-range Gulfstream G550 business jet.
Samaritan’s Purse already owns and occupies a hangar nearby that Lowe’s Companies Inc. occupied until the Lowe’s aviation department was moved to the Statesville Regional Airport in Iredell County. In March 2019, Lowe’s announced that its aviation operation was moving again, this time to Charlotte Douglas Airport.
Boone-based Samaritan’s Purse recently renewed its lease for the land beneath the 19,738-square-foot former Lowe’s hangar from Wilkes County government.
The new taxiway will also service a 10-bay T-hangar planned by county government near the new Samaritan’s Purse hangar. Work on this new facility hasn’t started yet, but the bays will be available for lease individually. An existing taxiway at the airport was recently repaved.
Yates said bids have been received for additional paving in the area of the new 10-bay T-hangar. He said this work will also be grant-funded.
Meanwhile, Samaritan’s Purse’s 47,000-square-foot Wilkes Ministry Center on N.C. 268 East in North Wilkesboro is nearing completion and is expected to be virtually fully occupied when it opens.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the new office building in May 2019, Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham said about 160 people will work there. These are in addition to about 200 people already employed by the Christian disaster relief ministry in Wilkes.
James R. Vannoy & Sons is also the contractor for the new Samaritan’s Purse building on N.C. 268 East.